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Volkswagen aims to
conquer Paris-Dakar

by CAR magazine on 17/05/2002

Comments: 0

Volkswagen has signed 2001 Paris-Dakar winner, Jutta Kleinschmidt, to race its upcoming Touareg SUV in rally events.

Volkswagen has signed 2001 Paris-Dakar winner, Jutta Kleinschmidt, to race its upcoming Touareg SUV in rally events.

According to a spokesman for Volkswagen AG, the Wolfsburg-based company will be entering a competition vehicle derived from the Touareg model in Marathon World Cup events from 2004, and aims to be in a strong position to win the gruelling Paris-Dakar rally in 2005. Jutta Kleinschmidt, who was the first woman to win the Paris-Dakar Rally last year, will be key to the programme’s success.

Kleinschmidt this week signed the VW contract at a conference held in Wolfsburg and attended by the chairman of the Volkswagen AG Board of Management, Dr Bernd Pischetsrieder, and Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen, Volkswagen AG’s general authorised signatory with responsibility for group research and motorsport.

In addition to entering competition events for Volkswagen, Kleinschmidt will be closely involved in ongoing development work on the series-production Touareg, a VW spokesman said.

“"By signing this contract with Kleinschmidt, Volkswagen enters a new epoch in motorsport. The company is launching a three-year programme covering Marathon events,” Dr Pischetsrieder said.

Together with Kleinschmidt, a competition version of the Touareg will be developed and entered for the Dakar Rally and the Marathon World Cup from the 2004 season onwards. The company’s target is an overall victory in the 2005 Dakar Rally," he added.

CARtoday.com reported recently that Volkswagen was preparing to unveil its long-awaited SUV at the Paris Motor Show in September.

The Touareg has been developed as a cousin to Porsche’s Cayenne, which will make its public debut at the same venue. The SUV will be slightly larger than the BMW X5, and will be targeted to sell some 80 000 units per year against formidable global opposition such as the X5, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Range Rover.

Engines that are expected to be on offer include a 3,2-litre V6 petrol or a 233 kW five-litre V10 turbo-intercooled diesel. The latter is being touted as the world’s most powerful passenger car diesel powerplant. Additional V8 petrol and five-cylinder diesel options are in the product plan, and in each case the power will be transmitted through a choice of six-speed manual or Tiptronic automatic transmissions.

Power division between the four driven wheels is controlled electronically for the most appropriate traction split, and differential locks can be activated under low-traction conditions, the Auto Alert bulletin reported recently.

The performance “envelope” is claimed to include the ability to climb a 45-degree slope, a 45-degree safe roll angle, and a 3,5 ton towing capacity. On-board systems include DSP (dynamic shift programme), ABS (anti-lock braking), TCS (traction control), ESP (electronic stability control), EBC (engine braking control), and HBA (hydraulic brake assist), the report said.